This object lesson teaches about how God’s plan for us can be difficult to see at times. Even so, we should do our best to follow the path He has set out for us.
• Psalm 37:23-24
• Proverbs 3:5-6, 16:9
• Romans 8:28
• Dot-to-dot pattern (You can find this on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com in the file named Connect the D-O-T-S – Pattern.ppt)
• Posterboard or flipchart paper (2-4, depending upon how large you want to make the dot-to-dot pattern)
• LCD or overhead projector (or photo copy machine, depending upon how you choose to enlarge the pattern)
• Enlarge the dot-to-dot pattern. (In the file mentioned above, it is the first slide. The second slide shows the completed dot-to-dot picture, and the third slide shows a more stylized dot-to-dot picture of the same pattern in case you want to project it. You can enlarge it a few different ways – print it and then photo copy it using the magnification settings on the copier, use either an LCD or overhead projector to project the image on several posterboards or flipchart pages and then trace the image onto the paper.)
• Hang the dot-to-dot pattern where your volunteer will be able to reach it.
• Practice the script.
Use the following script and instructions (or modify to suit your needs):
• “Let’s do a dot-to-dot puzzle!”
• “I’m going to need a volunteer.” (Select a volunteer from the audience.)
• (To volunteer) “You know how to do these, right
• “You connect the dots with a line in the order of the numbers next to the dot.”
• “Start with number “1;” then go to “2;” then to “3” and so on. (Let the volunteer begin to connect the dots with a marker.)
• (To audience) “You know, doing a dot-to-dot puzzle is a lot like trying to follow God’s plan for your life.”
• “When you first get started, it’s hard to see what He’s doing in your life.”
• “It can look like just a bunch of dots.”
• “But each of those dots is an event in your life.”
• “Some are big events; most are small.”
• “Some are so small that you wouldn’t even think they would matter, but Romans 8:28 tells us that God uses ALL things for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.”
• “Some dots represent good choices that you made, and some represent bad choices, but God uses everything!”
• “He just keeps connecting those dots.” (By this time, your volunteer should have run into at least one of the following problems: a) There is no dot or label for “10;” b) Dots “13, 14, 15 and 16” are not labeled; c) Many of the dots have more than one number associated with them.)
• (To volunteer) “Is there a problem?” (Listen for response.)
• (To group) “Sometimes, God’s next step for you won’t be clear.”
• “What do you think you should do when this happens?” (Take responses, and listen for ideas like “pray, read the Bible, ask other Christians, wait for the Lord.” Offer these if the kids don’t.)
• “Right! Eventually, the Lord will usually show you the next step.”
• “Sometimes, though, He is testing you to see which path you will take.”
• “And sometimes, He doesn’t have a specific next move for you to take. He is fine with you making the best decision you can that honors Him. In this case, He is fine with any of your choices and is giving you some freedom to select the one that you think is best.”
• “Often during these times, God doesn’t move quickly, so you may have to be patient.” (Show volunteer the order of the missing dots. They are labeled on both the second and third slide in the PowerPoint file.)
• (To group and volunteer) “Has anyone noticed that some of the dots have more than one number associated with them?” (Demonstrate that you are looking for a show of hands.)
• “What do you think this might represent in God’s plan for your life?” (Listen to responses. The group may come up with some creative ideas, but one possibility is that God might ask you to go through some experiences multiple times – especially if they were tests that you didn’t pass the first time through.)
• “There are a few lines and squares already drawn into the pattern. What do you think these might represent in God’s plan for your life?” (Listen to responses. Again, they might have creative answers other than this one, but one possibility is that these could represent resources and helps that God provides in our lives. Another possibility is that these could represent times when God had to carry us through a difficult time.)
• “Can any of you tell what the picture is yet?” (Listen to responses, but neither confirm nor deny at this point.)
• “You know, sometimes when we think we can tell where God is going, we want to jump ahead and skip some of the dots.”
• “You can see examples of this in Scripture when:
o Abram had a son with Hagar instead of with Sarai.
o Jacob stole his brother’s blessing and birthright.
o David tried to carry the Ark of the Covenant on a cart instead of the shoulders of the priests.
o James and John offered to call down fire on a village that had rejected Jesus.
o Peter often tried to take leadership of the apostles before it was time.”
• “But what does it do if I jump from this dot to this dot and skip the ones in-between?” (Demonstrate by pointing to dots in the pattern. Then listen for responses.)
• “It messes up the picture, right?”
• “Then, God has to lead me back to the right dot so that I can go back through the right steps again.”
• “It’s hard to do, but we should be patient and go at the Lord’s pace.” (Have a volunteer read Psalm 37:23-24, Proverbs 3:5-6 and Proverbs 16:9.)
• “God cares about the steps we take, and He wants us to walk in His path.” (Watch the volunteer, and help him/her whenever he/she gets stuck. When the puzzle is complete, thank and dismiss the volunteer.)
• “Who can read it now?” (Listen to responses. The correct answer is “D.O.T.S. – Disciples of the Savior,” and there is a cross behind the text.)
• “If we continue to follow God’s path, He will make us into what He truly wants us to be: D.O.T.S. – Disciples of the Savior!”